Archive for June, 2009


Coming home

June 24, 2009

Coming home after an absence, there is always a period of adjustment. Typically coupled with the hope that once one finds an equilibrium, it will feel the same as it did before, with some expansion as a result of the experience. But what happens when home no longer feels like home?

Before I left for Europe, I gave up my job, my apartment and most of my stuff to second hand stores with the expectation that I had no idea what I would encounter, so it seemed silly to hang on to things. And now that I’m back, just in time for my dad’s birthday, Soundwave and some good visiting with those I haven’t seen in a good long while, I look forward to these things. At the same time, I’m not sure where I fit here anymore. Granted, I left people (okay, person) behind in Europe that I do hope to be reunited with sometime soon. So certainly, that has some pull. But I believe I’m only now realizing what I might have already known subconciously when I went.

I’m not sure if this is home anymore. I know that I should give it time, I’ve only been here for a couple of hours(1 of which was spent being held up by customs because apparently it’s unusual for a canadian girl to go cruising around europe for 3 months on her own without any kind of plan)  and it could be that I’ll find an equilibrium. It could be that I’ll move to the Kootenays and find some peace there, especially since all the stuff I didn’t give away is stored there. But I seem to have come to an impasse. I’m not sure that I want to be here, but even if I am there (somewhere else) I don’t have any idea what I will do with myself.

For me this is just one thing on my mind that signifies what may be the end of a particular era, that era being the canadian dweller. One of my closest friends has died recently, at the ripe old age of 14. Auberon was very old, his eyesight and mobility not what they used to be, so in many ways it was likely a respite. But I am sad nonetheless, that I was not here to see him off. But he sleeps well and contentedly in those elysian fields reserved for dogs and fairies in the afterlife. As he was most certainly both.

I know it was actually Titania who said this, but as the fairy king’s consort, she seems fitting to sing it of him as well.

‘Come, now a roundel and a fairy song;
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence;
Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds,
Some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings,
To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders
At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep;
Then to your offices and let me rest.

The Fairies sing

You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;
Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong,
Come not near our fairy king.
Philomel, with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby;
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby:
Never harm,
Nor spell nor charm,
Come our lovely lord nigh;
So, good night, with lullaby.’



Rambly hitchhiking in Germany with a magic hula.

June 8, 2009

Everyone says Germany is awesome for hitchhiking. And yes, many people stop, the speed is superfast and the country isn’t huge. But sometimes getting from point A to point B is a real hassle, such as if you’re travelling Berlin to Paris. The ideal way is to head directly west from Berlin, via Hannover towards Dusseldorf and south through Belgium to France. But I found it easier to head towards Nurnberg and then directly west from there.

Sounds easy, yes?


Found a ride to Bruck, which is a terrible place to get out of. Never accept a ride to Bruck! Finally a trucker took pity (after I did my praise the gods hitchhiking dance) and took me to the Autobahn 9, which goes to Munich. Ok. From there I got a ride from a trucker who only spoke german and turkish. He was very friendly, but I was never sure just how friendly his intentions were. He was going to Nurnberg, but since I was slightly uncomfortable, I jumped out near Erfurt. West of Erfurt is Dusseldorf and Köln and from there it’s not so bad for France. But this time I wanted a car. So I ignored all the trucks and concentrated on the cars at this roadside stop.

1.5 hours later I was somewhat frustrated. The sky was clouding over, the light was starting to fade a bit and I was starting to wonder if I would be sleeping at a truck stop tonight. Even the trucks, with their maximum speed of 90 km were starting to look good. Time for another praise the gods hitchhiking dance, this time with hula accompaniment.

Rocked it. As soon as I started to hula, the sun came back. As soon as I put the hula away, I put out my thumb and an english speaking german man driving a very fast car stopped. He was going to Munich. Urg. Ok, whatever…movement is movement. I can always back track a little bit.

I asked him to drop me at Nurnberg because the turnoff to the A6, directly to Paris is there. Here’s a problem with excessive speed. Sometimes you miss turnoffs. No worries, he dropped me at another truck stop, 3 km south of the way I wanted to go, with no hope of walking back along the highway. So under the highway I went, to the other side truck stop, in the hopes of a hop ride back to the turnoff.

When I arrived there was a couple trying to get to Berlin there. By now it’s very dark and very late. Most of the trucks there are closed up, occupants asleep, not going anywhere any time soon. And out of hitchhiker courtesy, I have to wait until this couple gets a ride before I can even try. Ok, more time. I unwrapped my hula. I put one segment together. Suddenly the male half comes running up to tell me there’s a trucker pulling out who has agreed to take me to Frankfurt. Which is back north the way I came, but further west than I’ve been yet. OK!

He was very genial. Spoke little english, but handgestures and smiles go a long way. Gave me pudding, and then lovely dark beer, which turned out to be a terrible combination the next morning. Set up the upper bunk in his truck for me and I fell asleep. I do not recommend the upper bunk in a moving truck for comfort and ease after pudding and beers. Or likely any other time, for that matter. After a fitful sleep I finally woke up to find he decided to be kind and let me sleep, past Frankfurt, and take me all the way to the depot in Dortmunder. Which is nearer to Holland than France. I said nothing because I thought if I opened my mouth pudding and beer would fly out in a most unfavorable way and he was so sure he had done me a great service.

And in fact, he took me in his car from there to a truck stop where I could easily find a ride to Koln. Where I spent the first half hour in the bathroom learning a lesson about pudding, beer and how terribly they go together. Not feeling up to a hula dance, I asked the gods to let me have this one for free and so they provided. A ride to the train station in Köln, where I caught the next train to Paris, arriving just in time for dinner.

So yeah, the highways are efficient, the truckers are friendly and if you aren’t in a hurry they’re totally the way to go and people stop fairly frequently. But direct lines don’t really exist if you’re trying to travel outside of Germany.

But then, it’s not always about the destination..

Oh! And pack a hulahoop.



Summer lovin, had me a blast

June 6, 2009

I would love to say that Berlin held me in thrall because of the architecture, the culture, the vibrancy, the music, nightlife. And all of those things were grand.

But some things are better.

Summer lovinLike being barefoot in fountains on a beautiful day with someone who is many levels of supercool. That tends to give one pause, with regard to the notion of leaving town any time soon…

But left I have, on my way to Paris once more to hang with members of the Canadian contingency. Which will grow in number the closer it gets to June 24, as I have finally booked my flight! And so I will not only get to hang on the beach, I will have almost 3 more weeks to run amok in Europe before that happens. Where will those 3 weeks be spent?

I hear Berlin is lovely this time of year.

I hear that, it’s actually been quite chilly and thunderstormy and typical april weather there. So perhaps a sojourn to Italy. I feel I should at least get one of the I countries that was on my list. Maybe Ireland. Maybe Belgium. They have good beer. And Bruges. And I hear it’s a f#@king fairy tale.

In some ways this lacksadaisacal approach to running amok through Europe is quite free, makes unasked for adventure and excitement a reality on a daily basis. But on the downside..

Oh, wait. There isn’t one. Ha!

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